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COVID 19 – Managing Navy and Migrant worker clusters critical – GMOA

ECONOMYNEXT – The Government Medical Officers Association is warning that managing the currently active COVID 19 clusters is critical to prevent a second wave of the disease spreading throughout the country.

The GMOA spokesman Dr Navin de Zoysa told EconomyNext that the Navy cluster and the cluster created by returning migrant workers need to be managed carefully.

“It is a matter of concern that there is a major increase in the number of patients,” he said.

“Our hospitals have to be ready to deal with such a large number and the capacity has to be increased,” he added.

The government has already acted to increase capacity. Two days ago the government designated two more hospitals, the Hambantota District Hospital and the Teldeniya hospital as places where COVID 19 patients could be handled.’

“Special attention has to be paid to those dealing with those handling the people who are in quarantine centres,” he said.

This includes everyone from airline staff who flew people in to the hundreds of workers maintaining and servicing the quarantine facilities, as well as staff supplying these places, he said.

One event that has alarmed the Association is the situation at the Gafoor building in Colombo Fort where a Navy sailor was found to be COVID 19 positive.

The iconic building situated close to the Port Authority headquarters is occupied by the Navy.

Since then the Gafoor building with some 200 personnel has been isolated.

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The Navy Personnel who are in the Gafoor building are involved in supplying the Welisara camp the Navy Spokesman told Media.

The outbreak inside the huge base has yielded 771 cases of a total of 1,530 since the outbreak.

De Zoysa says that this means all those coming into contact must be tested he said.

The recent upsurge in COVID 19 patients began on May 24 and up to yesterday 441 new patients have been detected.

The biggest increase in COVID positive cases has been over these four days and more than half are returning migrant workers from Kuwait and other Middle-Eastern countries.

“We are not saying that these workers should not be brought back home. But their situation has to be managed carefully,” he said.

De Zoysa says his association is convinced that the government’s assertion that there is no community spread of the disease is happening.

Community Transmission of the disease is when a person contracts the virus and health officials cannot trace the infection back to a person who had been identified earlier.

Community transmission is a stage of the disease when control is slipping out of the hands of the authorities.

De Zoysa says the government has controlled the disease well up to now but managing the two active clusters was critical to keeping it that way. (Colombo, May 29, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana